Strenuous 12 miles
Sunshine; clouds at altitude
A strenuous 11.5 mile circuit of some of the highest mountain peaks in southern Britain. The walk begins from a car park in the Taf Fechan Forest. A steep ascent up to the ridge of Graig Fan Ddu (642m), which leads directly towards the peak of Corn Du (873m).
Pen y Fan (886m) follows shortly afterwards, before a significant drop down Craig Cwm Sere and the second steep ascent of the day, up to Cribyn (795m), which offers superb views of the steep eastern side of Pen y Fan — which can be obscured within an instant by cloud blowing in from Cwm Sere (see photo sequence).
From Cribyn, the route follows Craig Cwm Cynwyn, along to Bwlch ar y Fan and the short, demanding ascent to Fan y Big. From here the route joins the Beacons Way — although my actual route on the day I recorded the GPX, turned off a little too early, only to rejoin it, in order to walk along Craig y Fan Ddu.
The alternative would have been to follow the course of Nant y Gloesydd, cutting the overall length of the walk by a couple of miles. With hindsight, I recommend so doing. In the event, the route (that I took on this occasion) descends steeply, off the nose of Craig y Fan Ddu, returning along the course of the Taff Trail, back to the start, via the Taf Fechan Forest.
Route map, elevation, GPX: Ordnance Survey, ViewRanger